Managing for Gender Equality Results: Empowerment of Women for Equitable Participation in the Oil and Gas Sector

As Africa continues to set policies and frameworks for managing its fast-growing oil and gas industry, it has to ensure equal participation of men and women. Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In 2010, 16 of the 54 countries in Africa were exporters of oil. In 2011, 22 African countries produced crude oil, and 16 were net exporters. In 2012, 21 countries in Africa had proven oil reserves, and 24 had proven natural gas reserves. Yet in this bright picture, women stay mainly in the shade. This case study focuses on women’s involvement in the oil and gas value chain in Africa, to generate insights on how it can be increased. Gender stereotypes, discrimination, inexperience, limited education, weak policies, reproductive and child care responsibilities are the main challenges preventing greater input even if real efforts have been made the last years to increase women’s role in strategic decision making, These challenges need to be tackled as part of a broad package of the general problems undermining women’s participation in all socioeconomic sectors. A conducive environment for scientific talents to rise is required. African governments and partners need to build women’s capacity, and encourage them to have a wider executive skills set to run companies. The continent’s leaders should also develop national policies that encourage and support the participation of indigenous people in the sector more effectively, making special arrangements for involving more women. Civil society organizations should increase advocacy for governments to increase incentives for girls’ education in general and in fields such as engineering, mathematics, and other science-related subjects. Finally African institutions should conduct evaluations to increase understanding of the hydrocarbons value chain and gender mainstreaming. African regional bodies and think tanks need to support in-depth research and discussions on these issues to ensure increased benefits for Africans from the sector.